Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Guest Post: 5 Reasons to Take Up Cycling

Today I have the opportunity to present an article by guest poster Susan White, who writes about various topics in health and fitness for Radiology Technician Schools in New York.  Susan invites any questions or comments to her email address -

5 Reasons to Take Up Cycling

It not only makes you slim and fit, it boosts your health as well. Exercise is the cheapest and easiest way to good health and a long and disease-free life. When you make exercise a way of life and spend at least 30 minutes every day working out, you reap the rewards for a long, long time. Cycling is one of the best cardio exercises – it’s both fun and beneficial, if you do it the right way. So if you want to take up cycling as your main workout routine, go right ahead because cycling offers the following benefits:

  • It boosts overall health: Cycling is one of the best known cardiovascular exercises. It has been known to improve heart health and be a good form of exercise for patients with diabetes and other chronic lifestyle illnesses. Cycling offers your lungs and blood vessels a good workout and keeps your body fit and healthy. It also regulates your blood pressure and boosts your immune system.
  • It helps you reduce weight: When you cycle regularly for at least 20 miles a week, you find that you lose all that extra fat. It’s even better than running because it is a non-weight bearing exercise and so, easier on your knees. This makes cycling a safe exercise for people who are overweight and not able to run, and who need a form of exercise more strenuous than walking.
  • It’s a great stress-buster: When you cycle outdoors and feel yourself being one with nature, you feel all your stress evaporating into thin air. You feel your mood getting a boost, especially when you meet fellow cyclists and socialize with them and others on the road. Also, when you cycle to and from work, you feel better about yourself because you’re not contributing to polluting the environment.
  • It tones your muscles: Cycling is as good as many strength training exercises when it comes to toning your hamstrings, quads and gluteus muscles. They get stronger by the day and this improves your overall balance and agility.
  • It improves fitness and stamina: And finally, cycling boosts your fitness and stamina and improves your endurance. When you improve your distance and time every week or fortnight, you feel yourself becoming fitter and stronger than ever before.
Some people prefer to cycle outdoors while others prefer to do it in the comfort of a gym on a stationary bike. Either way, wear clothing that is comfortable and choose your equipment so that it’s the right size for you. When your gear is not comfortable, you get a sore butt and knees and you also risk chafing your inner thighs. Also, adopt the right posture when riding so that you don’t strain your back and other parts of your body.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It was inevitable

I've been really lucky so far when I've gone to the pool to swim.  Even during most of their classes, they keep one lane open for lap swimmers.  But as I knew I eventually would, last night I discovered the one exception to the rule.

I got all dressed in my swimsuit, cap, flip-flops and goggles, showered and walked into the pool to see it completely dominated by a masters swimming class.  I'm talking two people to a lane.  Apparently, this is the only 1.5 hour block during the whole week where the pool is completely closed.

I did get to talk with the instructor briefly - a cute young triathlete woman in great shape, who invited me to register for one of the remaining slots in the class.  A tempting proposition, but I'd rather stick to my training plan at this point.

It had taken a true act of choice to get me to the gym last night, so I knew that if I went home planning to return to the gym later in the evening, it wouldn't happen.  So I decided to switch my Monday and Tuesday workouts and do an endurance run instead of a swim+run combo.  I had really felt like running anyway, so it worked out well for me.

And yesterday was one of those days when running actually feels good.  It was meant to be.

Monday, March 29, 2010
Endurance Run - 45 minutes (approx. 5.5 miles), 5x100 strides
I think my Google map of the distance might be a little farther than the actual, but whatever.  I had the energy to run and it felt good.  It was 5 miles for sure, and it was warm enough in the sun that I ended up taking my sweatshirt off.  Aren't those little steps that let you know spring is in the air wonderful?!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Preparation Fail

I set out yesterday for a 75 minute bike ride at a comfortable pace.  The temperature was cold at first, but it started to warm up as the morning progressed and the sun came out.  It was a nice, uneventful ride on a spring morning until 16.5 miles in.  That's when I realized that my front tire was flat.

"No big deal!" I thought.  "I've changed a bike tire before, and I've got everything I need in my saddle bag.  I'll be back on the road in 10 minutes."

I hopped off the bike and confidently removed the wheel and started taking the necessary tools out of my pack.  Then, I started trying to get the tire off of the rim.  I made sure I was using my tire wrench properly, but for some reason, I just couldn't get it under the bead of the tire.

After several minutes, I gave up.  Either I'm just not strong enough or the tire wrenches that work on my mountain bike tires do not work on my road bike tires.  I was very frustrated and annoyed that I could not just change that tire myself.  I was going to need help.

And I was going to have to walk home.

Fortunately it was only two miles, and it was nice outside.  However, I did pass a couple walking the opposite way on the bike path.  The man saw me and my bike and said, "You're supposed to ride it, silly!"  To which I responded, "Not on a flat tire, you're not."  I should have made him stop and help me get the tire off instead.  ;)

Friday, March 26, 2010
Endurance Swim - 800 yards total
4x25 warm up, 8x25 sprints, 5x100 base

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Tempo Run - 30 minutes with 8 minutes at tempo (approx. 3.25 mi), 2x100 strides, drills
Total approximately 3.5 miles.

Sunday, March 28, 2010
Endurance Bike - Approx. 70 minutes (16.6 miles)
Would have been more biking and less walking, if it hadn't been for that flat tire. :p

Friday, March 26, 2010

New route: Hanna Lake Road

Last night I did my first longer ride on the bike followed by a short run.  I took off on the bike for a 75 minute ride hoping to do about 20 miles.  I tried out a new route starting on my familiar neighborhood bike path and then taking Hanna Lake Road south of town until it ended.  Even though Hanna Lake is more of a country road, I still had to ride in the lane most of the way due to the lack of paved shoulder.  I usually shy away from roads like that.  But even during rush hour, the traffic was relatively light and considerate giving me plenty of space.

Probably the funniest moment was at the turn around point of the ride.  I was really happy with my pace up to that point.  I did a warmup plus about 5 minutes at a 40k tempo.  But honestly, I was riding most of the way at that same tempo pace - similar to how I'd ride during the Thursday night summer group rides.  Then I turned around and the wind hit me in the face like a wall.  Cross wind, too - the kind that makes you look like you're riding drunk.  I hadn't realized how windy it was until that very moment!  Needless to say, the headwind slowed me down a bit, but I still made 18.7 miles in 75 minutes.

Then I stripped off my bike gear and put on my running shoes for a short 10 minute run.  This was the first time I've transitioned to a run after doing a longer bike ride.  Now I understand what people mean when they say that their legs feel like jello in the bike-to-run transition.  I think my running pace was normal, but my legs just felt wierd.  Like all the pedal-in-circles muscles were still trying to fire.  That feeling started to shake out after about a mile, at which point I was nearly done with the run.  I'll be eager to see how a longer run feels after a hard bike ride.  Will my running legs really feel normal after a few minutes?

Thursday, March 26, 2010
Tempo Bike - 76 minutes, 18.7 miles
Run - 10 minutes, approx. 1.25 miles

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Running Realities

Some realities about running...

Some days running feels free and easy.  Other days your legs feel like lead and your lungs feel like they are going to colapse.

Running can make you feel young and unstoppable one minute, old and decrepit the next - and this all in the same run.

Sometimes running gets your bowels moving.

The same pair of shoes that are comfortable for 3 miles will give you blisters after 10.

The first day you wear shorts for a run outside and realize that your legs look great because you've been working out all winter is a good day.

One tough run will make you question the sanity of that race goal that you set for a few months from now.

Running is incredible cardio.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Endurance run 40 minutes, 4x100 strides - Approx. 4.25 miles
This was one of those days where running just does not feel good.  Really, though, I've had more of the good days so far this season than the bad.  I can't complain.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The tri training plan begins!

When I met with my trainer on Friday, we talked about the benefits of bilateral breathing (taking breaths on both sides, every three strokes).  So, I was eager to give it a try and see how it went.  I didn't know if I would be able to get the coordination of it or get the right amount of oxygen doing it.  Up until now, I've been breathing on one side every two strokes.

So, Saturday afternoon I went to the pool strictly to give the technique a try.  I wanted to take it easy and not do a hard workout - just try to breathe every three strokes.

And I surprised myself finding that I am actually coordinated enough to physically turn my head to the left as well as the right.  ;)  That part came to me rather easily.

However, I feel almost as if I'm starting to swim all over again as far as the oxygen goes.  I can't tell if I'm not getting enough air waiting an extra stroke to breathe or what.  But it's tiring.  I couldn't finish a whole lap without taking a break, kind of like I did when I started trying to swim freestyle without stopping all the time.  But I think over time, I'll get used to it.

And I realized that if I ever need more air, I can just switch to breathing every two strokes again for a while.  So we'll see how this goes.

Then, I've got plans to have dinner with some friends tonight, so I decided to do my very first trainer-created-training-plan workout on Sunday instead of Monday.  It was an intensity swim workout plus a short run.  I felt like it was enough to be a good workout, but not so much that I was dead tired afterwards.  I think this 6 day-a-week thing might be doable after all.

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Swim 1000yds
Learning bilateral breathing.  Tried a 400 just to see what my time would be - 11:42.  Considering I had to take breaks and do the breast stroke quite a bit, I think this is going to be a significantly faster technique than what I was doing before - once I get used to it, that is.

Sunday, March 21, 2010
Intensity Swim + Run 25 minutes
Swim 8x25 sprints and 8x50 thresholds - total of 600 yds.
Run on the treadmill 25 minutes - 2.7 miles.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Consultation with a trainer - Part 2

I met with the athletic trainer, Chris, again today (read about the first meeting here) to take a look at the triathlon training plan that he created for me.  I'm both excited and intimidated by it!

I'm intimidated mostly because it involves a workout 6 days a week, which I'm definitely not used to right now.

But I'm excited because it includes lots of variety and workouts that I never would have made up on my own (like intervals, drills and pace variations).  It's well balanced amongst the three sports, with a slight emphasis on running, since the running portion of the Ann Arbor Tri is so challenging.  And even though there are 6 workouts a week, I can easily cut it down to 5 when I need to, and the workouts themselves aren't going to take any longer than what I've already been doing on my own.  I also hoped that I would be able to understand what the workouts in the plan called for, and Chris has written it with simple and clear language unlike some of the plans I have looked at online.

I think this plan is really going to prepare me to not just finish the race, but finish it well.

We also have three topics that we want to look more closely at together in the coming weeks:
  • Swimming form - I'm going to give bilateral breathing (breathing on both sides instead of one) a try.  This is really more efficient and balanced than breathing on one side.  We're also going to do a swimming technique session in a couple weeks to identify how I can best improve my form and use some of the available swimming tools like hand paddles and kick boards.
  • Running form - I'm curious to see just how inefficient it is.  LOL!  We'll do a session later to look at mid-foot running and gate.  I also know that I swing one foot out to the side slightly, so maybe the trainer can give me some exercises to reduce that.
  • Race day nutrition - I've gotten good at knowing what to eat for endurance bike rides, but those solid foods will not do my tummy good when I'm running, too.  This won't take a whole session of its own, but we'll talk about how many calories I'm going to need on race day and what foods/products I can try to meet those needs comfortably.
Womens Bicycling Survey

On a side note, EcoVelo has a post today about a survey for women and girls who ride bikes by the Associate of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.  If you're a woman who rides a bike, take about 10 minutes to give your input!

Sewage Leak Update

After Wednesday night's sewage leak debacle, I got a plumber in to the house yesterday afternoon.  He replaced the section of copper pipe with the hole in it with PVC, and we can now flush our toilet again without flooding the basement with poo water.  Yeah!

By the way...if you live in the Grand Rapids area, I highly recommend Godwin Plumbing.  I've been to their well-stocked store before, but it turns out they also have a highly competant and friendly service department.  When I called the store, the gentleman I talked to was able to explain all of my repair options, give me an estimate of how long the repairs would take and tell me exactly how much they would cost.  When the technician, Mike, came to the house, he did exactly what the guy on the phone had explained, and it took LESS time than he had estimate - only 15 minutes.  Mike was also very friendly, explained what he was planning to do before he did it, and talked to me like an intelligent adult.  With the coupon I found on the Godwin website, the whole repair cost me $55.  I was extremely happy.

Now the hubby and I are still trying to kill off all the mold in the framing wood and floor.  It'll take a few cleanings, I suppose.  We're thinking about tearing the whole wall out of that area to be sure we get it all.  That would mean creating one large finished room on that side of the basement instead of a bedroom and a den.  I think I like the idea.

Hopefully, our homeowners insurance will assist with the redecorating repairs.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Worst date night ever

Home ownership is wonderful!  Except when it's not.

Last spring, a few months after the hubby and I bought our house, we were sleeping in the basement while we did some work on the bedrooms upstairs.  One morning, I got out of bed and put my feet on the floor to SQUOOSH - two inches of cold water!

We figured out that the problem was a big crack in our foundation wall situated right behind the 3 inch copper pipe that comes down out of our bathroom.  Likely, the differential in temperature from the hot water in that pipe and the cold cement wall developed the crack over time.  Now, the ground water from all of the spring rain and melting snow was pouring through the crack.

In any case, we got some expert advice and solidly repaired the crack from the outside of the house.  It was a messy task of digging out clay soil and applying tar and plastic, but we haven't had a drop leak through that crack in a year.

Last night, I went downstairs and noticed that the carpet around that same area of the basement was wet.  I thought, "Oh no!  Is the crack leaking again?!"  Unfortunately...the water was coming from a much worse place.  The 3 inch copper bathroom pipe.

And not just any bathroom pipe but the branch coming from the toilet.  Right in the ceiling of the basement.

At one point, the hubby broke through the drywall box that the previous owners had built around this piping in the ceiling.  Toilet water just came pouring out everywhere.

So for some time now, toilet water has been collecting in the ceiling, running down the walls and soaking into all the drywall, wood and carpet in that area of the basement.  And the icing on the cake is that some interesting molds and mildew were growing everywhere.  Gross.

Last night was supposed to be date night.  Instead it was tear-our-basement-apart-and-clean-up-our-own-poo-water night.  Awesome.

This used to have a built-in bookshelf, TV stand and carpet.  All nice and finished.  Now, not so nice.

We've got most of the damaged material torn out now and we've cleaned everything with mold/milder killer and bleach.

Today, I get to call some plumbers and find out how much it will cost to repair or replace the copper pipe with the hole in it.  If its a lot, the hubby and I may attempt to repair it ourselves.  More adventures in home ownership!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

East West Trail

Monday night during my run, I discovered a great new trail near my house.  I was so excited about it that I headed out on my bike last night to explore it more!

It turns out, this is called the East West Trail.

East West Trail

It runs east-west (duh!) for 2 miles from Division Ave. to Kalamazoo Ave. just north of 52nd St.

I'll have to check out that north-south trail west of Division, too! 
Thanks, Google Maps bicycling directions!

Lots of people were out enjoying the 60 degree F temperature and sun.

Enjoying the sun

Some parts of the trail are cuter than others, but I loved it all!

Power lines

Even though this was supposed to be a training ride, I was just having too much fun being outside on my bike and taking pictures.  I attempted a few "panda" shots.  I think the people walking by me thought I was silly and bound to crash, but I didn't care.  This one came out best.


After exploring the East West Trail, I rode down busy Kalamazoo Ave. to the Southbelt Trail and then connected back onto the Thornapple River Trail.  It was great to see so many people using the trail for biking, walking, running, roller blading, scooting on Rasers and sitting in the sun.

Thornapple River Trail

Soon the trees will flower and everything will turn green again.  And people wonder why I love cycling so much.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Bike 75 minutes (14.9 miles)
Generally an easy pace today, enjoying the sun, the view, the ride.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Stuff

Some exciting new things happened in the world of Cyclin' Missy yesterday!

First, I discovered a new bike path during my run.  I have actually known approximately where this path was for a while now, but I've never taken the time to find an entrance to it.  During my run, I decided to explore some different areas of my neighborhood, and I stumbled upon the path - completely by surprise!  There is nothing like running or biking on a great new trail for the first time.  It was a hidden treasure in my urban sub-urban jungle.  It quietly wove through country-decorated backyards following the course of a row of power line towers.  It passed by a couple schools and parks where children played in the spring sunshine.  It was super cute, and I haven't even seen the whole thing end to end.  I only explored about 1.25 miles in the middle somewhere.  It is so exciting to me to have a new, quaint little trail to add to my biking/running route options.

Second, when I got home from my run/swim workout, I found two packages that had been delivered during the day.  I love it when packages arrive for me!  One box contained the Hawaii Rides DVD's that I won from the Bike Lemming contest.  Thanks, Lemming!  The other box contained some new bike stuff that I ordered - a Park Tool chain cleaning kit and a second set of Crank Brothers Smarty pedals.  I want to learn to do most of the simple maintenance on my bikes by myself, so the chain cleaning kit will contribute to that goal.  I also decided that I like the clipless pedals on my road bike so much that I need to put a pair on my mountain bike, too.  Thus, the Smarties.

New Bike Stuff!

I also added a second Specialized Dolce saddle to my repertoir (so I don't have to keep switching my current one from bike to bike) and a Park Tool pedal wrench (more bike maintenance tools).  I actually got these at the end of last week.

New Dolce Saddle - Not exactly the same as the old one, but close enough.

Third, after swimming yesterday, I realized that I had forgotten to put some Q-Tips in my gym bag again.  So after opening my packages of bikey goodness, I began searching the house for something solid to carry some cotton swabs in.  I used to have a small plastic travel case for just this purpose, but it disappeared long ago.  I liked that much better than using a baggie.  So in my bathroom cabinet I stumbled upon a small silver box that had contained a jewelry present from my mom.  It had the perfect dimensions to hold Q-Tips!  And it's cute, too.  A great way to reuse a pretty box.

New Use for an Old Jewelry Box

Monday, March 15, 2010
Run 40 minutes (approx. 4.25 miles)
Found a new bike path surprisingly free of traffic noise and full of cute parks and families.  I can't wait to explore more of it!
Swim 30 minutes (approx. 1250 yds)
I finished what I thought was 900 yds in less than 20 minutes and decided I must have miscounted my laps.  Even doing an extra lap, I swam it in under 21 minutes.  First lesson: I may be able to meet my swimming time goal for the tri after all!  Second lesson: Twice now I've swam faster after doing another exercise first.  I guess that goes to show the importance of warming up well before the swim on race day.  Then I continued swimming for a total of 30 minutes and what I guess was 1250 yds.  That's the farthest I've made it in 30 minutes yet.  Every time I swim, I improve.  That will surely level off eventually, but for now it's really encouraging.

I also ran into the ultra-endurance adventure race guy at the pool again today.  Good guy.  Bad bathing suit.  But not as bad as powder-yellow-speedo guy.  Ahhh!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Before and After

A month or two ago, I mentioned that painting my home was contributing to my lack of training time and dedication.  Well now I've gotten most of the painting done and have started to get into a more regular training routine.  That said, I wanted to share with you some of the results of my home improvement labors.  (Please excuse the mess in some of the photos!  The house is still a work in progress, and I did not clean just to take these shots!)

Here is the kitchen when we bought the house.  Notice the awful wallpaper and the wood cabinets and panelling.  That wood color was on all of the cabinets and trim throughout the house.  So outdated!

 Here is the dining room off of the kitchen.

And now it looks like this.

And this.  So much brighter and more modern!

The half bath off of the kitchen looked like this before - more wallpaper, wood trim and a piece of molding halfway up the wall.

Now it is the same color as the kitchen - a sunny yellow, which seems to have exploded all over this photograph.

The main bathroom had orange and green stripped wallpaper (e-gads! more wallpaper!), and the cabinets and trim were more of that 70's style wood.  Now it is a soft lavender with white cabinets to match the white tub.  We'll probably do something more updated with that vanity at some point.

The living room walls were an off white color when we bought the house.  There was also a hideous wood flower box with twisty polls going up to the ceiling that cut off the entry way from the rest of the room.  That was the first thing we tore out of the house the day we moved in!  Now it looks like this.  The color is called "cookie dough", and we've decorated with a black leather couch and red and cream accents.

The master bedroom was painted a deep, bright red, when we bought the house.  My in-laws surprised us when we were on vacation last spring and painted the room this color.

The spare bedroom was off white with a full wall of brown wood panelling.  How old must that have been?!  Now it is this lovely green color.  You can also see our beautiful wood floors in this shot.  Everything in the back of the house was carpeted when we bought it.  We discovered a honey colored wood floor underneath that had seen a lot of damage and stains from pets and dirt.  We had the floor refinished in this darker color that really made the wood grain pop out.

And the third bedroom that we use as an office was also painted off white.  I painted it this warm orange over the weekend.  We have a black metal and glass desk set that we plan to put in here on top of a warm area rug.

We still have to paint the ceiling in the kitchen and paint the back entry stairway.  But the bulk of the work is done.  Now it's time to add rugs, furniture and window treatments.  That will be fun!

The transformation of our home has been drastic, and I love it.  Warm colors.  Modern trim.  I can really see the fruits of my labor.  Now on to tri training!

Friday, March 12, 2010
Bike 70 minutes (approx. 14.5 miles)
Outside!  I love riding outside!
Swim 25 minutes (1000 yds)
I swam freestyle most of the distance this time.  I did 900 in 22:30.  I'm definitely improving.  But can I knock two and half minutes off of my time by race day?  We shall see!

Thursday, March 11, 2010 - Sign the Pledge

I just read about this organization called on Bike Hugger.  They are trying to get 1 million people to sign this pledge:

"I am for bikes. I'm for long rides and short rides. I'm for commuting to work, weekend rides, racing, riding to school, or just a quick spin around the block. I believe that no matter how I ride, biking makes me happy and is great for my health, my community and the environment we all share. That is why I am pledging my name in support of a better future for bicycling—one that is safe and fun for everyone. By uniting my voice with a million others, I believe that we can make our world a better place to ride."

Their hope is form a unified voice of people who ride bikes in all different ways and for all different reasons to promote bicycling with our community and national leaders, the media and the public.

Feeling torn

I felt completely torn Tuesday night about whether I should go to the gym and do a swim/bike workout or stay home and be lazy with the hubby. 

I knew that Tuesday night was a good night to put in an hour and a half of base training time this week, and I knew that I would feel disappointed with myself if I didn't do something towards training.  I also knew that what I really wanted was to spend as much time as possible with my spouse.

So I ended up making a compromise.  I went for a short run, while the hubby finished up some work tasks.  Then when I got home, we were both totally free for the rest of the night.  I didn't get any swimming or biking in, but I was happy nonetheless!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Run 29 minutes (approx. 3 miles)
I'll have to clock the distance of my running route again, because what I thought was the first "half" took me about 13:20 minutes and the second "half" took me 15:20.  I know my pace didn't slow much in the second half, so how far is each leg of that route, really?  It's hard to determine my running pace if my distance measurements are off!

So, I'm not crazy!  I mapped my run route, and the first leg was 1.5 miles (for an 8:53 mile pace), and the second leg was 1.85 miles (for an 8:17 mile pace).  That means that my pace was actually faster during the second part of the run than during the first!  Overall for the run: 8:51 mile pace.  Not great, but not bad.  Definitely improving over time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Remember...base miles

It was absolutely beautiful outside this weekend - it had to be 50 degrees F (10 C) and sunny.  I felt like I could have used a rest day on Saturday, but I couldn't resist being outside!  So, I did a 50 minute run (approximately 5.5 miles) at a comfortable pace.  I kept having to remind myself not to push it and just enjoy the run.  I kept saying to myself, "Remember...base miles." 

I have this irrational fear of burning out during my training plan, which is silly.  If I get worn out, I take a couple days off.  No big deal.  And I also need to remember that right now, I'm not trying to hit any pace goals.  It's not time to work on getting fast yet.  It's time to build a base of time doing the exercises.  So, remember...base miles.

Saturday, March 6, 2010
Run 50 minutes (approx. 5.5 miles)
Comfortable pace.  Did 5 miles in 44:30, which is encouraging!  I was starting to wonder if I'd ever break a 9 minute mile pace.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I won the Bike Lemming contest!

The Bike Lemming held a contest this week to win the Hawaii Rides Trilogy DVD set, and I won (he will put a winner report up soon)!  I may have been the only entrant...I honestly don't know.  And I don't care!  I'm actually excited to try these videos out while riding on my trainer in my basement.  I just finished watching the Matrix trilogy while riding on my trainer, so it's time to move on to another three-DVD set.  ;)

I'll be eagerly watching my mailbox.

In the mean time, I know that the cold icky weather is not finished yet here in Michigan, but it's getting close.  It was nice enough yesterday that I actually took my bike off the trainer and rode it outside!  It was glorious to be out in the sun.  I had to cut my ride a little bit shorter than I had planned, because the second section of trail that I was on had not thawed out yet.  Skinny tires and ice don't mix.  But I added a run to my work out and made it a brick.

Thursday, March 4, 2010
Bike 35 minutes (7.25 miles) outside
Easy pace with occasional stops for other trail users, ice patches and road crossings
Run 40 minutes (approx. 4 miles) outside
My hip flexors are sore.  I guess they're still not used to running again after last summer's cycling bender.

I also got some feedback from the athletic trainer that I met with last week on my A2 Tri time goals.  He said that my swim and run targets were right on, but my bike target was not ambitious enough.  He felt that if I can regain the cycling fitness that I had last year, 45-47 minutes for 14 miles is a reasonable goal.  I'm guessing he's basing that on my one 12-mile time trial, which I did after riding two centuries.  Twelve miles is nothing after riding 100.  But I guess I don't mind the ambitious goal.  So my new target times are:

Ann Arbor Triathlon Goals
Swim 0.5 miles - 20 minutes
Bike 14 miles - 45-47 minutes
Run 5 miles on trail - 45-46 minutes

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Registered: Warrior Dash Midwest

OK, so I'm really excited to sign up for fun events this summer, because I've registered for another one.

The hubby and I are entered to run the Warrior Dash in Joliet, IL on June 19, 2010!  This race looks like a blast.  It's a 3.17 mile run with a dozen different obstacles to conquer along the way including a wall, a cargo net, junked out cars, giant wooden spools, fire and a mud pit.  When you finish the race, you get a furry, horned warrior helmet, a t-shirt, a medal, food and beer.  How awesome is that?!

There are several Warrior Dash events around the country.  I think this looks like a blast!

The hubby and I plan to make costumes and run the whole race together.  What do you think we should dress up as?

On a side note, I am super excited about the weather forcast for the upcoming days.  Finally!  Temps in the 40's F and sun!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Swim 30 minutes - 1150 yards
Tried doing 1.5 lengths freestyle + half length breast stroke every lap
Race distance time was a little slower today, but I feel like I'm getting stronger at the freestyle
Bike 24 minutes at the gym - 5.8 miles

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Registered: Iceman Cometh Challenge 2010

I am now officially registered for my second race of the 2010 season - the Iceman Cometh Challenge on November 6.

The Iceman is a 28-mile point-to-point mountain bike race in northern Michigan.  In early November, you never know what kind of weather to expect.  Some years, it has been freezing and covered in snow.  Other years have been mild.  I'm sure there's always wetness and mud.

The course is not very technical - mostly dirt road, two-track, abandoned rail bed and Nordic ski track.  As the Iceman website says, "The course can be best described as a road race on dirt."

Courtesy of the Iceman website photo gallery.

Nonetheless, I'll need to do lots of off-road riding and endurance building to prepare.  It'll be fun to switch gears to mountain biking after a summer of triathlon and running races.

Unfortunately, the plan was to do this race with my co-worker and his wife, but the 3700 person field filled up in less than a day, so I don't know if they got registered in time.  I sure hope so!  It'll be way more fun to do the race with friends!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Consultation with a trainer

Friday afternoon, I took a late lunch hour and meet with an athletic trainer named Chris at a local Kava House.  I really enjoyed the consultation and am looking forward to working with Chris to get ready for the Ann Arbor Triathlon!

After a little get-to-know-you chit chat, we got down to business.  I told Chris all about my athletic history, races I've done in the past, all the events I'm thinking about doing this summer, what my finishing goals are and how I've been training so far (which hasn't been much!).

It was great to hear an expert perspective on how much time I really need to dedicate to training in order to meet my goals.  He suggested that doing three workouts in each discipline every week is ideal.  That kind of scared me, because I was hoping to do no more than 4 days a week.  But three of each discipline means doing lots of combination workouts and shorter segments just to get my body used to switching from one sport to the next.  The combo workouts will help me keep the number of days that I have to train down to 4 or 5 a week. 

In addition, I told Chris that I want to keep riding with the ladies group on Thursday nights starting in May, so hopefully, he'll just work that into the plan.

We discussed whether using a wetsuit is necessary.  Chris feels that for a short swim, a wetsuit will slow me down in the transition more than it will help me in the swim.  The lake should be warm enough in mid-June that maintaining body temperature won't be a problem either.  If I do want to wear one, he said that a sleeveless, short-legged suit would be best for removing quickly.

We wrapped up our meeting with some discussion of what he thought my training plan will look like.  He's going to write it up, then we'll meet again in a couple weeks to go over it and make any final tweeks before I dive into it.

We also discussed doing a couple more sessions together to take a look at my swimming form and breathing, my running form and how best to consume calories during the race.

I found the consultation very helpful and fun, and it opened up the opportunity to get many of my questions about tri training answered.  I am looking forward to having a personalized training plan in my hands in a couple weeks and someone available to basically serve as a coach when I have a problem!

In the mean time, Chris encouraged me to double the time I've been spending on each sport each week.  That means that I should be doing at least 60 minutes swimming, 120 minutes biking and 80 minutes running.  Fortunately, the meeting motivated me enough to complete half of my workout time for the week over this weekend!

Saturday, February 27, 2010
Swim 30 minutes - 1175 yards
Completed race distance in approximately 22.5 minutes
Succeded in doing the freestyle stroke every other length - quite a bit faster!
Meet local ultra endurance sport celebrity in the pool, as well as a creepy dude in a yellow speedo
Run outside 40 minutes - approx. 4 miles
Easy pace

Sunday, February 28, 2010
Bike on the trainer 60 minutes - 14.4 miles
Rode at an easy pace, then sped up for the last 4 miles or so